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do you use a computer in your plow truck?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by slone, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. slone

    slone Senior Member
    Messages: 183

    I was wondering how many people use a computer in there truck to track the weather radar when plowing. And what results you have had good or bad.

    MAR4CARS Senior Member
    Messages: 246

    I was considering installing computers in the trucks so we can print invoices and hand the customer a bill on the spot for the non seasonal customers.
  3. Gicon

    Gicon Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 989

    LapTop with a wireless air card and a truck mount for the laptop. No harry half ass here.
  4. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,617

    Wait.... so you want to spend your most valuable time sq*(*g around with billing and printers and paper insted of plowing :dizzy:
  5. DCSpecial

    DCSpecial Senior Member
    from IL
    Messages: 408

    I have a laptop with a broadband card, but I normally just use my phone to watch the radar since I don't have a stand for the laptop.

    I check accuweather.com on my phone and animate the radar.....do the same from the laptop. Phone is just easier, IMO.

    Now for invoices as mentioned......can't do that with my phone :D
  6. stroker79

    stroker79 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,802

    I have been battling with myself over putting my laptop in my truck or not. Problem is, Im not sure I want my nice expensive laptop in the truck taking hits left and right from plowing. There is a reason that the cops use the panasonic toughbook in the cruisers. But more than anything, My phone works just as good and the laptop for looking at radar, it just seems quick and easy. I pay for the accuweather.com subscription for my phone so its a little bit nicer interface too.

    As for printing invoices in the truck on the spot? why waste your time, it sounds fun to do but thats really just not normal or needed. Just print them the day after and drop the moff. Or give them a payment book or something, or you can have preprinted invouces and you just fill in the customer info and amount and your set, but even still, I see that un-nesessary.

    I hope that helps! At least now you know my opinion! LOL
  7. Gicon

    Gicon Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 989

    Stroker, if you get the proper mount, like I bought, they are meant to take abuse. All of the connecting pieces have bushings and etc meant to take bumps. I bought a seperate Dell Lattitude laptop, which is what other municipalities use in their vehicles. It is a tough laptop.
  8. Gicon

    Gicon Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 989

    This is what I have

    This is what I have

    Attached Files:

  9. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    I considered the laptop for landscaping purposes, but not so much with snowplowing. I'm not stopping to bill each account, as that's what my down time is all about. A notebook & pencil is enough for me.
  10. plownoob

    plownoob Senior Member
    from ny
    Messages: 128

    yeah! dropping donuts and spilling coffee is murder on a regular laptop. xysport
  11. digit

    digit Member
    Messages: 94

    I have a laptop with stand made for the truck with a wireless card work great and gives you something to do if your sitting around in the truck.
  12. slone

    slone Senior Member
    Messages: 183

    I have an older phone. So getting weather radar on it is not an option. I may have to upgrade the phone. I am not looking to bill as i plow. I usually bill at the end of the month anyway. I have a buddy that put a laptop in his truck and he bought a stand to secure it. Just thought it might be nice to see where it is snowing because lake effect snow is unpredictable. Maybe snowing in one area and go a mile up the road and no snow. Sure beats wasting fuel.i try to ntwork with a few buddies on opposite sides of town and that helps. Just looking for a better way to go
  13. Dodge Plow Pwr

    Dodge Plow Pwr Senior Member
    Messages: 568

    I have the laptop and printer in the truck. All of my gas stations must pay at time of plow and they want a printed bill. This way I can keep it loged into my billing software and print away. Just have to take it in the house so the ink don't freeze when I am done.
  14. plowtime1

    plowtime1 Senior Member
    Messages: 446

    look forward this year installing one
  15. TPC Services

    TPC Services Senior Member
    Messages: 875

    I Have a guy lthat never leaves home with his laptop and have seen him and heard from his cusin that ever free minute he was on his laptop facebookin my spacin or what ever, I told him very nicely at are annul meeting to leave the thing at hm, I'm not paying my guys to sit around start up a laptop and srew and do god knows what on it, if he's really that wooried about the weather that his phone can show him the same crap on it and faster!! I guess My fellings are I can get more done if I just invoice my clients at the end of day and mail them out Yes it cost money to mail but time wastin time is more money A friend of minds dad told me a long time ago very time you stop to got he restroom on a trip u lose around 15-20 minutes in travel time, he was a over th road drive for years in his youth! So I'm thinking very time you stop in the city and take the time to write a invoice or type it out on th laptop you could be losing 5- 10 minutes which depenDing on your route could mean gettingyour next drive job done or get a good head start to it!!

  16. plowtime1

    plowtime1 Senior Member
    Messages: 446

    Your point is validated...I wouldn't allow any employee to utilize a laptop while on my clock; however, I believe the question may be leaning towards owners.
  17. lumps

    lumps Senior Member
    Messages: 365

    I just carry my Palm with me, as always. I can check radar maps/loops, etc, update time log spreadsheets, and anything else. Works pretty well.
  18. Joe Snow

    Joe Snow Senior Member
    Messages: 120

    I can check and send emails from customers, take before and after pictures, check radar, call and receive calls from customers....all from my iphone.

    I'm sure there's even more I can do from the iphone that I've not even looked into yet.
  19. IMAGE

    IMAGE Sponsor
    Messages: 1,747

    I have a laptop with a wireless (Verizon) air card. I also have a printer. We roll with 2 guys in the truck, (sidewalk guy in pass seat). I really need to get a Ram mount, just normally sits on the center council.

    The sidewalk guys job is to create the invoice from the job while traveling to the next one. Only takes about 1 minute using LMS. Even the seasonal flat rate accounts that dont get billed each service get an invoice created because its a log of service.

    I only have that setup in one truck, I added another truck this fall. I dont want to buy another laptop for it, so I will probally just have that truck use pen and paper to log everything, and I will enter it into LMS after everything is done.
  20. RepoMan207

    RepoMan207 PlowSite Fanatic
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,039

    I use a Dell Axim PDA with my billing software on it and portable printer. I am constantly printing Repo Requests all the time in the truck. I hear the "I don't owe the bank anything" line about 9 out of 10 reposessions I do.

    I also use my Verizon PDA Phone for weather tracking. From my experince though, and maybe this is just my location, but when I go out, I already know what to expect out there for the remainder of the storm with in reason, unless of coarse we are getting 2 storms right back to back.